Every two years, House of Today, a Beirut-based non-profit organisation that funds scholarships for young Lebanese designers, curates an exhibition of products by local designers around a central theme. This year, its title is Jungle Protocol: Tradition and Etiquette. It will debut on Wednesday December 7 at Le Yacht Club in Beirut, featuring the work of 24 designers (22 Lebanese, two international), and will remain on display until Thursday December 29.
The brief challenged designers to “reflect on their own traditions, and open their eyes to other cultures. Under a veneer of chaos and differences, there is an underlying order that brings us together: it’s called the Jungle Protocol.” What they came up with runs the gamut from understandable to obtuse – which is part of the point.
Three beautiful pieces – two ceramic and marble Gentlemen tables ($4,500) and a brass, aluminium and marble Juggler table ($15,450) – were designed by Stephanie Sayar and Charbel Garibeh. The former tables are described as a “chaotic yet charming” reflection of their society, while the latter is described as a “deconstruction of the classic table shape…eliminating the unnecessary.”
Khaled El Mays designed a valet chair ($2,400) and laundry basket ($900) – clever creations based on and playing with the traditional proportions of Fishawy chairs, commonly found in cafés and restaurants across the Middle East.
David Raffoul and Nicolas Moussallem, whose firm David/Nicolas has created product for Nilufar and Carpenters Workshop galleries, made a collection of silver-plated brass rubbish bins ($4,500). The description that accompanies the bins offers questions in lieu of explanation: “The problem is that what you see is definitely never what you get. It may look pretty on the outside, but what is happening on the inside? What are you exactly?”
The Jungle Protocol exhibition will be accompanied by The Shop, an online retail endeavour launched in collaboration with WallpaperStore and guest curated by Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte of Beirut’s Carwan Gallery, featuring new pieces by Lebanese designers (including Rabih Kayrouz, Nada Debs and Bokja), as well as existing products by international designers, for the office and home.